Ford Explores a Strange Alternative For EV Charging

As more people buy their first electric vehicles, there is more need for EV charging options. The Tesla superchargers are great, but they don’t work for all EVs and still take a while. Needless to say, there is already a shortage of charging stations, and the problem will only get worse as more people buy EVs than charging stations get built. This is why Ford is looking into some creative, if not even a little strange, alternatives to EV charging. One of the main ideas involves flat-towing EVs for the regen charge.

Ford patent for flat towing for a way to do EV charging
Ford Regen towing patent | Ford

Are there enough EV charging stations? 

Charging infrastructure is without a doubt the biggest hindrance to the mass adoption of EVs in America. Obviously, we are going to need more chargers – a lot more. However, that will take a great deal of time and money. 

According to The Drive, Ford is exploring new alternative EV charging options, mainly designing EVs to allow flat towing behind trucks and campers to recharge their batteries. 

A published patent filed by Ford describes charging via towing. While most cities have EV chargers, the more rural parts of our country are nearly devoid of EV charging options. This ability to flat-tow EVs would not only make charging in the rural areas possible, but it would also provide a way to charge one’s EV without stopping for hours. Mobile EV charging could really change the way we see this new phase of transportation. 

Is flat-towing an electric car ok? 

Flow chart showing how the EV charging ford patent may work
Ford Regen towing patent | Ford

Ford filed for the patent back in December of 2020, but the paperwork was only published a couple of weeks ago. This patent describes a few different ways to make this idea work. One of the ideas is that the tow vehicle is charging the EV all the time. However, there is also the suggestion that the tow vehicle only charges the EV when it is not pulling a heavy load. 

For instance, if the caravan goes up a steep hill or even down a similar grade, putting more strain on the tow vehicle, the charging might pause or at least change. Of course, another detail like flat-towing speed is also a major factor.

The document describes what Ford thinks might be good options for tow vehicles. The document reads: “The towing vehicle can be for example a transporter, a heavy goods vehicle, a road train, a semitrailer or the like, for example, but it can also be a passenger car having appropriate performance features.”

Here’s where Ford’s EV charging idea gets wild

Flow chart showing how the EV charging ford patent may work
Ford Regen towing patent | Ford

Ford’s charging proposition gets even crazier; not only are they suggesting a possibility of personally towing an EV with a camper or some such vehicle, but Ford is also proposing roving EV charging rigs that will be equipped with Bluetooth linking abilities to link up for mobile charging and information sharing. 

In essence, the system would allow the electric vehicle to link up with a moving source of charge, attach itself to the tow vehicle with help from various sensors, and begin charging. Ford would essentially have a fleet of rolling chargers, although the practicality of that seems questionable. 

The more likely scenario is the aforementioned RV towing situation. This would be a driver inside a vehicle such as an RV to select how and when the vehicle would charge itself. For instance, if the tow vehicle was going downhill or if it was braking, etc. This would mean there would be no extra load on the tow vehicle’s engine, but some EV charging would still happen.

Ford is on the right track with flat towing EVs

Who knows how we will solve the infrastructure problem with EVs, but it’s creative ideas like this Ford patent that will help us figure it out. The more we can support these outside-of-the-box ideas, the sooner we can figure this out and start making some progress. 

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